Mental Health Service Use Among Adolescents Experiencing Emotional/Behavioral Problems and School Impairment [2017]

Mental health service utilization research is needed for students who are likely to receive school mental health services, yet little research exists for adolescents experiencing emotional/behavioral problems and school impairment. This study addressed this gap using secondary data analyses conducted on baseline data from a large trial testing school-based interventions for high school students (n = 647) experiencing emotional/behavioral problems and school impairment. Analyses examined the number and type (community-based or school-based psychosocial, inpatient, pharmacological treatment) of services used, and sociodemographics associated with services. Sixty-nine percent had received at least one service for their emotional/behavioral problems prior to the study, with nearly half of those having only received a single service. Community-based psychosocial and pharmacological treatments were most common. White adolescents and those in special education were more likely to have received services, particularly community-based and pharmacological treatment. On average, adolescents had not received any services until early adolescence. Findings add to increasing literature on the current status of service use among adolescents with emotional/behavioral problems and the potential for schools to increase access for those in need.

Melissa W. George, PhD, Imad Zaheer, PhD, Lee Kern, PhD, Steven W. Evans, PhD
Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, Vol 26, Issue 2, 2018